When we talk about having trouble sleeping, there are many things that you can try before turning towards medication. Prescription medication for sleep disorders are not like taking a Tylenol PM. They are highly addictive and can have massive side effects.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, play close attention to what you are eating and drinking in the evenings. Avoid snacking two hours before bed, that way your body has your food digested and it’s not just sitting in your stomach. Of course you should avoid caffeinated beverages, such as soda, tea, and coffee. You should try and avoid these types of drinks anytime after dinner, as the effects can last up to five hours.
Relaxation techniques can also help you when you’re having trouble sleeping. Simple exercises such as closing your eyes and focusing on each muscle, forcing it to relax, moving up through your whole body, can make sleep come surprisingly easy. Other techniques include deep breathing and other meditation exercises.
Melatonin is another option. An over the counter medication, Melatonin is a substance that is found naturally in your brain. It makes us sleepy and induces sleep. It is non-addictive and can be taken on an as needed basis. One thing to keep in mind about Melatonin is that it only works when it’s dark. The receptors in the brain can only be activated when there is not a lot of light. (Funny how the brain works isn’t it). So, you can take it as much as you want, but unless you’re laying down somewhere dark, it will have no effect.
If you have sleep problems, I would try some of the things above before going with a prescription medication. Many of the newer sleep drugs can cause sleepwalking to the extreme. I’m sure most of you have heard of the sleep driving phenomenon, and it’s way more common than you realize. A friend of my grandparents was on sleep medication, and started sleepwalking. He fell down a flight of stairs and had to have brain surgery. If you have children, the risk becomes even higher, as it is extremely difficult to wake up while taking these meds. You may even appear awake, and respond to questions, but can quickly fall back into a deep sleep.
Anyway, consider the alternatives before going straight to the medication. Even though there is a pill for everything, it may not always be the best bet.